MonitorsPublished on Nov 16, 2008
The Taliban has renewed its activities in Peshawar. The Taliban militants and its allies have carried out a series of kidnappings and attacks on foreign nationals in the area recently to establish its presence, and taunt the Pakistan Army engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the nearby Bajaur and Mohmand.
South Asia South Asia Weekly 46

< class="maroontitle">Taliban in Peshawar 
The Taliban has renewed its activities in Peshawar. The Taliban militants and its allies have carried out a series of kidnappings and attacks on foreign nationals in the area recently to establish its presence, and taunt the Pakistan Army engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the nearby Bajaur and Mohmand.Taliban and its allies have so far been unsuccessful at targeting Peshawar, yet they have established strongholds around the city, thereby attaining the capability to strike at anywhere at a time of their choosing. The US authorities have advised NGOs to move out of Peshawar and take extraordinary precautions while working in the area. The Taliban's renewed violence in and around Peshawar fits in with its strategy to choke the US supply lines for Afghanistan passing through the Frontier, generate funds for the anticipated annual 'spring-offensive' and divert the Pak Army operations from Bajaur where the Taliban and Al-Qaida cadres have had setbacks since August. With the continued presence of the Army in FATA, in months to come, more such attacks are anticipated in Pakistan's underbelly/ hinterland.
< class="maroontitle">Rift within CPN-Maoist

For the first time in the history of CPN-Maoist, a senior Maoist leader Mohan Baidya 'Kiran' has challenged the party Chairman Prachanda. Earlier, some party leaders mostly at the local level, had rebelled and spilt from the mother party but never had posed a serious challenge to the central leadership. Recently, the Maoist Central Committee meeting deliberated on two political papers presented by party Chairman Prachanda and senior leader Baidya to chalk out party's future strategies. The meet assumed greater significance as it is poised to outline the party strategy. The 35-member CC meeting witnessed heated debate between the soft liners and hard-lines within the party and failed to reach a consensus on the two papers.

Presenting his report, Prachanda argued that the party should give permanence to the transitional republic and underlined the need to take the peace process to its logical end and draft the new Constitution within the stipulated timeframe. He proposed three options- adoption of Federal Democratic Republic, People's Republic or Transitional Republic. However, Baidya, leading the radical faction, emphasised to establish the People's Republic by any means. The radicals continue to renounce the parliamentary system of democracy and advocated the need for another uprising to establish People's Republic. Apparently, the views expressed at the CC meet clearly depict the brewing disagreements within the party on its future strategy and model of republic to be adopted.

< class="maroontitle">Myanmar-Bangladesh maritime talks
Bangladesh and Myanmar held talks to resolve maritime boundary dispute.  In the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Maung U Myint led Myanmar side while MAK Mahmood, Additional Foreign Secretary, headed Bangladesh side.  The talks had become important due to the recent near to conflict situation between both the countries over gas exploration in the disputed waters by Myanmar. Both the countries shares maritime border in the Bay of Bengal, which is rich in oil and natural resources and this has made the issue complex as both the countries claim their sovereignty over these resources. The dispute attained its climax as Myanmar undertook exploration operations in the disputed area escorted by warship. Bangladesh perceived this act of Myanmar as an intrusion in its sovereign waters and sent three naval ships to showcase its protest against Myanmar’s act. This incident also boiled up several diplomatic exchanges between both the countries and even China’s help was sought to resolve the issue. Hence, this incident intensified the need for an early solution to the problem. Despite great expectations, the talks ended inconclusively. The reason was lack of consensus over the methodology for the delimitation. Myanmar proposed for equidistance method (243 degree line) while Bangladesh advocated principle of equity (180 degree line). Bangladesh does not correspond to the principle of equidistance because this would lead the country into a “block zone”. However, the authorities of the countries seem optimistic and agreed to meet in January 2009 to discuss the issue further as they believe that it is very complex issue and can not be resolved over night.

Sri Lanka
< class="maroontitle">LTTE seeking ceasefire

In a desperate bid to buy breather from the incessant onslaughts of the advancing Sri Lankan Army, LTTE asked Tamil Nadu political parties to put pressure on the Indian government to coax the Rajapaksa administration to halt the ongoing war. They are in dire need of defence supplies. The Janes Defence weekly recently published satellite images of two air strips possibly being used by LTTE to airlift weapons from the countries in Central and South East Asia. The claim was later refuted by the Sri Lankan officials. Besides, Mahinda Rajapaksa seems to be in no mood to relent to his adversary’s request for ceasefire if his latest call for “military solution for the terrorists and political solution for the Tamil people” was any indication. In an ongoing Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in New Delhi, the Sri Lanka President expressed his willingness to negotiate with the Tigers provided the group surrendered its arms despite knowing well that LTTE will never accept such a condition.

< class="maroontitle">Contributors:

      • Paul Soren                       -Nepal
      • Anjali Sharma                 -Sri Lanka
      • Kaustav Chakraborthy -Pakistan
      • Joyeeta Bhattacharya  -Bangladesh


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